From Venice's Marco Polo airport, approach the city by crossing the lagoon on the Alilaguna (www.alilaguna.it) to Zattere, which takes roughly an hour and 20 minutes. It costs around €30 for the express and €15 for the other routes. From there, it’s a short walk – turn right, cross the first bridge, turn left and then follow the canal to Campo San Vio. Finally, turn right onto Calle della Chiesa. When you find a pub, you should see the small iron gate that’s the entrance to DD724. You can also get a water taxi all the way from the airport to Campo San Vio (around €140) or from Piazzale Roma, after taking a land bus (around €70); both can be organised by the hotel. Alternatively, Trieste, Verona and Treviso airports are all possibilities. The first two have bus links to their main train stations, and are then a one-hour or three-hour train journey respectively; Treviso has a direct bus (www.atvo.it) link to Piazzale Roma in Venice, from where a 20-minute journey on Route 2, 51 or 61 of the vaporetto will take you to Zattere.
Venice’s main station is Venezia Santa Lucia; see Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com) for information on trains in Italy. To reach the hotel, take the vaporetto down the Grand Canal from Santa Lucia to Accademia (roughly 30 minutes on Route 1). Transfers can be organised by the hotel for €70 (for four people, an extra €10 for every additional person).
Venice is not made for cars and does not allow them into the city, so if you have driven from another part of Italy or the airport, you will need to leave your vehicle either on the mainland, which is easier, cheaper and avoids the sometimes colossal traffic jams, or at the edge of the city centre. If you park on the mainland in Mestre, you can choose between the rail station (and then proceed by trainl) or the San Giuliano parking lot (and proceed by boat).
Worth getting out of bed for
Linea d’Ombra on Ponte de l’Umiltà (+39 (0)41 520 4720) is a great local restaurant on the canal. It is the perfect plot to head to in summer as it has a lovely terrace with views across to the Giudecca; the ambience is fantastic and the Venetian dishes also surprise. Cantinone Storico on Fondamenta Bragadin (+39 (0)41 523 9577) is good for seafood, and has an impressive wine cellar. Definitely try and get a seat by the canal in summer or by the window in winter. Ask the waiter to tell you about the specials – and then trust his recommendations.
Across the Grand Canal: For a cosy, wine-bottles-along-the-wall kind of osteria, try Ristorante Cantina Canaletto at Castello 5490 (+39 (0)41 521 2661). Trattoria alle Testiere on Calle del Mondo Novo (+39 (0)41 522 7220) specialises in fish. At Bancogiro on Campo San Giacometto (+39 (0)41 523 2061), ask for a window seat. Trattoria do Forni on Calle Specchieri (+39 (0)41 523 2148) is very classical; book dinner in the Orient Express room. Ristorante da Fiore on Calle del Scaleter (+39 (0)41 721 308) is one of the best restaurants; book a month in advance. Poste Vecie, on Rialto Pescheria (+39 (0)41 721 822), is Venice’s oldest restaurant, reached by a private bridge. Il Refolo is a great pizzeria near the Museum of Modern Art (+39 (0)41 524 0016), though not open all year round. Anice Stellato on Fondamenta della Sensa, Cannaregio (+39 (0)41 720 744) does fabulous fish with subtle spicing. Locanda Montin on Fondamenta di Borgo (+39 (0)41 522 7151) serves great antipasti on a vine-covered terrace.
A coffee in Piazza San Marco won’t come cheap, but there’s a reason why the tourists flock there – it’s spectacular; and if you’re lucky you’ll have an orchestral soundtrack. Head to Campo Santa Margherita, where students, bohemian types and families gather to eat. Al Marca on San Polo is good for a pre-dinner drink if you’re north of Ponte Rialto. Peggy Guggenheim Collection Café in the 18th-century Palazzo Venier dei Leoni is a sophisticated spot for a coffee in the wonderful garden of the museum of modern art. It is elegant and peaceful: no wonder the art lover chose this to be her final resting place.
Sip a bellini on the floating pontoon of Cip’s Club, watching the sun set over the water. (Hotel Cipriani operates a free boat service to and from its private landing stage.) Try Centrale on Piazza San Marco, for good tunes and great cocktails. Taverna da Baffo in Campo Sant’Agostin stays open until 02h.